The hunter-gatherer diet. The caveman diet. Whatever you call it, the paleo diet is getting a lot of attention these days. Some tout the paleolithic diet plan as the healthiest diet on the planet. Others warn that a paleolithic, or stone age diet can lead to a number of nutritional deficiencies. Let’s look at what the paleo diet can and cannot do for you.
What is the paleo diet plan
There are a number of diet plans that feature protein and leafy vegetables, but few if any of them restrict legumes and whole grains the way that the paleo diet does. These good sources of vitamins, calcium and fiber are limited due to the fact that they were not readily available during the times of the cavemen. As a rule, the paleo plan focuses on grass-fed meats and wild-caught fish, some poultry and fowl, along with a heaping helping of above-ground vegetables and fruits.
Dairy products are disallowed on the paleo plan. This means no milk, butter, cheese or yogurt. Tree nuts are included in a daily paleo dietary menu, but peanuts are not.
Do you have to give up your favorite foods on the paleo plan?
In a word, no. There are numerous substitutions for the flours and other ingredients that make up some of your favorite foods. For instance, one may find flours made from almonds, coconuts and other nuts that can be used to make pancakes and other typically carbohydrate-rich breakfast foods, says Paleogrubs magazine.
If your favorite menu includes fast foods and a lot of pre-packaged foodstuffs, yes, you will probably have to give up some of the foods you love. Don’t worry, though. Before long, anyone who sticks with the paleo plan is bound to notice healthful changes that may make “giving up” some unhealthy foods an absolute joy.
What not to expect from the paleo or any other diet plan
The paleo diet is not a “magic bullet” to weight loss. While it’s true that sticking to the paleo diet plan can indeed cause you to lose weight and shed inches, the same results may be obtained by following almost any reduction diet, says the Mayo Clinic.
Be careful when switching from a standard diet to one that focuses on protein the way the paleo diet does. Don’t overdo the meat and be sure to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. In fact, your paleo diet ought to comprise at least 60 to 70 percent plant based food.
When time is precious (and when isn’t it these days?) preparing meals in a slow-cooker can leave more room for other things. Start by loading a crock pot with ingredients the night before and allowing it to cook very slowly all day. This can be a super way to turn cheaper cuts of meat into tantalizing meals the whole family can enjoy.
Pork is a great meat for slow cooking, as suggested in this from PaleoHacks. To prepare pulled pork as good as you’ll find in any southern restaurant, start by placing two to four pounds of lean pork loin into your crock pot. Slice an onion and scatter it over the pork. Pour a half-cup of chicken or veggie stock over the meat and sprinkle with salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder and garlic powder. Drizzle with one-half cup of honey. Place lid on crock and cook on low heat for eight to 10 hours. When done, shred or “pull” the pork with two forks and serve on paleo biscuits made with alternative flour.
There is no way that the current population can eat the way our ancient ancestors did. For one thing, most people don’t live anywhere near where they can hunt and gather food on their own. Even when in proximity to wild game and abundant orchards, most modern humans have no interest in gathering and hunting the way that cavemen did. Fortunately, a range of close approximations can be found in most local grocery stores.
If you plan to “go paleo,” don’t be fooled by hipster foods that are labeled to appeal to the latest food craze. “Gluten free” foods are, quite frankly, a bit of a scam. While it’s true that some people diagnosed with something called Crohn’s Disease do indeed have trouble processing gluten in their digestive systems, most people have no reason to skip gluten in their meals.
Anna Khan has tried just about every diet and weight loss gimmick that’s been going. It took her a long time to fall upon the paleo diet but since the initial learning curve it’s something that she has stuck with – learning that it’s not so much a ‘diet’ as a way of life that makes her feel fab.